BELLBROOK — When the South Dayton Knights took an 8-0 lead against the Bellbrook sixth grade Wee Eagles in a playoff game a few weeks ago, everyone in purple and gold likely had the same reaction as Eric Frantz.
“It was like, ‘Oh here we go again,’ ” the team’s head coach said.
And why not?
The Alter feeder team had shut out Bellbrook earlier in the season and knocked the Wee Eagles out of the Southwestern Buckeye League Pee Wee playoffs last season. But like the 1986 Monkees hit song says “That was then, this is now.”
The upstart Wee Eagles rattled off the next 30 points to eliminate the Knights and then won two more games to capture the program’s first sixth-grade Super Bowl title and just the second title for any Bellbrook youth team.
“It was fantastic,” Frantz said.
The monumental win over South Dayton obviously wasn’t the only post-season highlight for the Wee Eagles, who finished the regular season 4-2 and were seeded fourth in the eight-team playoffs. But it was definitely the spark that started the run.
Bellbrook beat Clinton Massie, 20-12, in the championship game handing the Falcons — three-time defending champions — just their second loss in 42 games. Ironically the other loss was to Bellbrook in fourth grade on the final play of overtime in the regular season.
Massie led, 14-12, at halftime, but Kingston Proud broke free for a 67-yard TD run to give the Wee Eagles the lead. An interception by Noah Kosins on the five-yard line with 24 seconds left ended a 19-play Massie drive and sealed the win.
The week before, the Eagles won the semifinal game against top-seeded Madison, 20-12. The game was tied 6-6 before Proud scored on a 35-yard run with 47 seconds left. Dion Casey then returned an interception 86 yards with 20 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
Not a bad run for Bellbrook, which started the season 1-2 with the other loss to — naturally — Massie.
“Trying to get over the Clinton Massie hurdle forever was near impossible,” Frantz said. “(But) things just kind of started to click for us. The kids just kind of believed. The post-season was really something remarkable. All season long we told them (they) deserved to be in the Super Bowl. I think they finally bought in and believed.”
The three playoff wins completed a revenge tour of sorts for Bellbrook, which had lost to each of those opponents in the playoffs the last three years — South Dayton in fifth grade, Massie in fourth, Madison in third.
But the Wee Eagles got a little better each season.
“The core of this group has been around since third grade,” Frantz said. “Really athletic. That’s the one thing that will stick out about this team. We’ve got a lot of guys at skill positions.”
Frantz and assistant coaches Mike Kosins, Jim Polen, Chad Barton, John Flanagan, and Drew Caswell used that athleticism to their advantage. Despite all Wee Eagles teams running the wing-T, which is run by Coach Jeff Jenkins at the high school, the sixth grade team was given some flexibility in the playoffs, Frantz said.
Against South Dayton, the coaches put in a trips package, along with a deuce package with twin receivers on both sides. The Knights didn’t have to athletes to match up.
“It was almost like basketball on turf,” Frantz said.
Bellbrook also game-planned for Massie, changing the offense a tad to keep the Falcons guessing.
Frantz also credited the offensive line, which featured a rotation of seven players at the five positions.
“They really came through,” he said. “We had some kids that hadn’t played a whole lot in the past really step up and performed on the line.”
The Wee Eagles end their run with 26 wins and four playoff berths in four seasons. Not all teams are guaranteed a post-season spot.
Other members of the team were Gavin Whitlock, J.T. Frantz, Carson Pund, Tressel Blair, Caden Koon, Grant Diorio, Nathan Fisher, Jack Kosins, Logan Barton, Sawyer Flanagan, Jackson Caswell, Chance Cox, Kenton Gerdes, Braden Hollender, Sebastian Pinger, Jack Korber, Eli Elmeier, Trey Kennedy, Paul Chiasson, Vance Weckel, and Michael Anderson.
Cheerleaders were Lauren Becker, Caroline Polen, Emma Southard, Kaylee Simmons, Adella Bratka, Sasha Smith, Bella Strong, Alayla Lemons, Ella Kosins, Jenny Hildebrand, Charlie Engle, Payten Terrell, Kaitlyn Puchalski, Natalie Heckler, Ella Kapfhammer, Evie Olds, Maddie Hileman, and Olivia Beale. They were coached by Nikki Kosins, Mandy Polen, and Ashley Puchalski with help from high school cheerleaders Addie Kosins, Grace Heckler, Jamie Levine, and Erin Allen.
Team videographer was Michael McCullough.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.